University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name CRIPA Investigation, Los Angeles County (CA) JC-CA-0002
Docket / Court No Court Case ( No Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On June 6, 1996, the United States Department of Justice notified Los Angeles County Executive, Joanne Sturges, that it intended to investigate conditions in the Los Angeles County Jail system pursuant to the Civil Rights of the Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. The ... read more >
On June 6, 1996, the United States Department of Justice notified Los Angeles County Executive, Joanne Sturges, that it intended to investigate conditions in the Los Angeles County Jail system pursuant to the Civil Rights of the Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq. The investigation found that the jail was failing to provide care meeting constitutional standards to mentally ill inmates.

A report summarizing the Department's findings was sent to Sturges on September 5, 1997. The report noted problems within the system, including the following:

Inmates entering the system were not adequately screened for mental illnesses. Officials relied on inmate self reporting and did not train staff to identify mentally ill inmates.

Inmates who were screened as mentally ill were not receiving evaluations for several days and prescription medications were taken from them.

General population inmates were not referred to a mental health professional until they reached crisis level.

Some mentally ill inmates were placed in twenty-three hour lockdown in inadequate housing, without access to activities and services available to other inmates, exacerbating their illnesses.

Some facilities for the mentally ill were dirty, dark, and crowded.

Suicide prevention procedures were inadequate, resulting in an increase in suicides within the previous years.

Mentally ill inmates faced a high risk of physical abuse or other mistreatment at the hands of other inmates or staff.

The report included a list of recommended remedial measures addressing the screening and treating of mentally ill inmates. The recommendations also included providing adequate and sanitary conditions for mentally ill inmates, providing access to recreation and other privileges, and promptly investigating reports of mistreatment or abuse of mentally ill prisoners. Other recommendations addressed record-keeping systems and suicide watch procedures.

On December 19, 2002, the parties reached a Memorandum of Agreement that required adequate mental health care and suicide and prevention at the Los Angeles County Jail System.

On June 4, 2014, the DOJ issued a letter stating that, since the entry of the Memorandum of Agreement twelve years ago, there had been significant improvement in the delivery of mental health services. However, serious systemic deficiencies remained with regard to some aspects of the Jails' mental health program.

As of April 18, 2015, we have no further information regarding this case.

Angela Heverling - 02/13/2006
Jessica Kincaid - 04/18/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Personal injury
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Los Angeles County Jail
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department
Plaintiff Description Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2002 - n/a
Filed 1996
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PN-CA-0001 : L.A. County Sheriff's Department (Kolts Report and Implementation) (No Court)
Additional Resources
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  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Date: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Notice Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Los Angeles County Jail
JC-CA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/06/1996
Memorandum re: Findings Letter re: Los Angeles County Jail
JC-CA-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/1997
Memorandum of Agreement Between the United States and Los Angeles County, California Regarding Mental Health Services at the Los Angeles County Jail
JC-CA-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2002
RE: Mental Health Care and Suicide Prevention Practices at Los Angeles County Jails
JC-CA-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/04/2012
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
show all people docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Birotte, Andre Jr. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0005
Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0004
Eichner, James (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0004
Maddox, William G. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0004
Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0004
Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0001
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0002 | JC-CA-0002-0004
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0005
Yang, Deborah W. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Brazile, Kevin C. (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0004
Other Lawyers Kim, Beong-Soo (California) show/hide docs
JC-CA-0002-0005

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